February 26, 2015 at 10:39AM

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Define Your Complete Prime Lens Kit

Spiraling towards hopelessness and concern that I would never make a feature for lack of funds (and no lack of student loan debt), I just received a lifeline of epic proportion. I was gifted a beautiful collection of Nikkor primes from the 60s and 70s, some non-AI and some AI.

I am curious, however, how all of you would define a strong (or full) set of primes for shooting a movie. What are the absolute essentials (what you would refuse to shoot without) in your prime sets?

14 Comments

For me it all boils down to three lenses...

Wide lens : for establishing shots and for any kind of stedicam/gimbal work

"Normal" lens : for medium shots that often involves characters interacting with each other

Telephoto lens : for close-up shots, especially when you want to establish the emotional state of your characters

...Beyond these three lenses everything else is "gravy", which you might even rent if it's an expensive special effect lens. ( Super telephoto, Ultra wide, Fish-eye, etc... )

February 26, 2015 at 6:34PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30396

Yes, ultra-wide would be fun but seems like a rental in most cases. Excellent breakdown of the way you use the lenses, thank you. I feel so fortunate to be able to adapt such cool lenses and am happy to see I have all three.

February 28, 2015 at 10:57AM

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Todd Green
Writer, Director
223

For me, 24 mm, 50mm 70mm, 135 mm and 200-300 mm.

February 27, 2015 at 7:30AM

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Rag├╝el Cremades
Film producer and director
7243

Thank you! Looks like I'm missing the 70mm, but that's about it!

February 28, 2015 at 10:52AM

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Todd Green
Writer, Director
223

28mm, 50mm and 85mm, sometimes I need something wider or sometimes narrower, but those three are definitely the focal lengths I use the most.

February 28, 2015 at 12:00PM

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Simon A. Kristiansen
Producer/Director/Screenwriter
143

yeah, 85 is what I'm missing - but 28 and 50 seemed pretty standard! thank you - exact answer I was looking for!

March 1, 2015 at 6:26PM, Edited March 1, 6:26PM

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Todd Green
Writer, Director
223

This question only makes sense if you specify the sensor size. If you are talking super 35 sensor, I like the Rokinon kit consisting of 24, 35, 50, 85mm. I also use a metabones speedbooster, which gives you some more options (These are all full frame lenses). I would consider the 50 optional, partially because of the speedbooster. The only time I could think that you would need longer lenses is if you are forced to shoot at a distance and need to get tighter on your subjects. You should be able to get shots like extreme closeups with the 85.

February 28, 2015 at 10:54PM

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Jim, it's a canon 7d - so around 90% of a super 35, I guess.

March 1, 2015 at 6:24PM

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Todd Green
Writer, Director
223

On super 35 sensor I shoot everything on 35mm and 85mm, but would like to add 24mm and 50mm to the list. That would be a complete set to me. Anything outside that would be a special rental for when a specific scene either needs super wide (ie. 14mm) or telephoto.

Hope this helps, Ben
Director/Producer, Global Pictures
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March 1, 2015 at 7:59PM, Edited March 1, 7:59PM

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Ben Kumanovski
Director | Cinematographer
294

Thanks, Ben.

March 1, 2015 at 8:29PM

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Todd Green
Writer, Director
223

On S35 - 18, 50, 85/90.
i.e. 24 - 70 - 135

There are a lot of other cool specialty pieces that certain production may call for, but day to day that's what I reach for.

March 2, 2015 at 11:48AM, Edited March 2, 11:48AM

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Josh Wilkinson
Music Video Director/DP
305

24, 35, 50, 85, 105, 200, + 28-70mm 2.8 Zoom(my current kit). Mainly use the 24 and 105mm

Great luck on grabbing the Nikons, those lenses are workhorses that can be run over by a truck and keep working.

March 2, 2015 at 12:51PM

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Geoff C. Bassett
Director of Photography
195

Thanks, Geoff!

March 3, 2015 at 9:53AM

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Todd Green
Writer, Director
223

Prime: 24 35 50 and may add a 40 and 85.

March 2, 2015 at 11:22PM

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Reggie Brown
Cinematographer
157

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